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How to watch live when a newly discovered asteroid flies close to Earth this week


We do not take a closer look at 2020 SW, but this NASA illustration shows what an asteroid looks like in space.

NASA / JPL / Caltech

Asteroids swing off the earth all the time, but you do not get many chances to witness them live online when they fly by. Asteroid 2020 SW, which was just discovered on Friday, will orbit Earth on Thursday, September 24, but you can capture its approach to our planet through a live feed from the Virtual Telescope Project on Wednesday, September 23 at 3 p.m.

Most importantly, the asteroid will zip past safely and continue its happy path.

If a year full of exciting near asteroids approaches, 2020 SW will be very cozy. It is expected to come within about 27,000 kilometers of the earth. It is closer than TV satellites usually orbit.

While near asteroid approaches can trigger alarm headings, there is no need to worry about the last meeting. For comparison, Asteroid 2020 QG made one of the closest shaves on record earlier this year and arrived within about 7,000 kilometers of our planet.

Asteroid 2020 SW is quite nice and measures somewhere between 14 feet (4.4 meters) and 32 feet (9.9 meters) in diameter. The fact that we have a full week’s notice of its arrival is a good sign that our asteroid spotting systems are working well.

So tune in and say hello before 2020 SW says goodbye.

Next fun asteroid moments to look for come just before the US election, when the little asteroid 2018 VP1 hugs the earth. That one will not signal doomsday either. Even if it enters our atmosphere, it will only decay.

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